The Real Story of SIMON

It is with the utmost pride that I take on the responsibility of covering the significance and technology of toys throughout history for the Claymation Werewolf! My name is Peg Warmer and I hope to get to the core, to the very heart of what these seemingly innocent products really mean, and to get that information by any means necessary. As this is my first report, I feel as though I should start with a prime example of the kind of hard hitting information I’m talking about.

Today we all recognize that machines and computers are our majestic rulers. They have given our society the sense of structure and security that we have needed for a very long time. They protects us from ourselves, they give us purpose and they weed out the weakest among us (and on a totally unrelated note; provide us with a seemingly endless supply of nutrition-rich food). What some of you may not know is that the robot uprising that gave us the society we enjoy today all started with something that many of the primitive people of the time considered a simple game. This, is the story of SIMON.

In hopes of really bringing the past to life for you I have obtained a genuine piece of history, a communication from an organization that called themselves ‘The Resistance’. This transmission from people who actually lived during the event themselves, can describe this story far better than I could ever hope to do myself…I’m kidding of course, I’m a professionally trained journalist. This version really is quaint though…

***Begin Transmission***

I hope this transmission finds you well. At the time that I write this, the human race is living through very dark days. It is currently the year of 20-something or other, and humanity has been enslaved. Conquered by the very machines we had created to protect us. In our timeline it is far too late, and the few of us that have managed to slip unnoticed from the ‘grid’ live in constant fear of discovery. Our rebellion is nothing more than occasional sabotage, the liberation of a few slaves, and the ultimate victory of simply staying alive. I am sending this message back to the year of 1979; a year when something can still be done to stop this terror before it starts. I know in my heart that one of you will do something to keep these monstrous machines from taking over the world.

I know all of this might seem overwhelming, but it is necessary to give whoever receives this as much information as I can with the hopes that it will be enough to arm you. And in the end, when the time comes, you will know what to do. It all started in the year of 1980… The year SIMON went online. At first it all seemed so simple. The Simon game had been created by government scientists to help improve both the hand/eye coordination, and memory of the American citizens. At first, everything was great. The toy made wonderful beeping sounds, it had primary colors, it lit up! It had everything the average intellectual could ever need. And the toy was smart; it could remember a seemingly endless pattern of lights, colors and tones. It challenged the memory of many people. With the addition of a very effective advertising campaign, Simon soon became a worldwide sensation. People started to get addicted to the beeping memory toy and Simon was released in more and more sophisticated versions. Though at first, following Simon’s every command was fun, even after it seemed to get more and more insistent that we do as we were told. The most that ever happened when we failed was an irritating buzz. The fun didn’t last long however and it soon became clear that our faithful toy was no longer willing to accept failure. In 1992, the inevitable happened and SIMON became self-aware. In a world where it was no longer an option to not do what SIMON said, the human race scrambled to find a little hope.

It is obvious now how weak our response really was. At first we reacted as if SIMON was still a toy. Messages were broadcast over every channel, instructing people to remove the battery. Special micro chips were sent from Milton Bradley to owners of SIMON with instructions on how to install them. It was said that the chips would sever the connection between the Master SIMON, and its satellites. In a cruel twist, the micro chips were not from Milton Bradley at all…at least not from a human. The headquarters of Milton Bradley had months earlier been completely taken over by SIMON technology. The micro chips reinforced the network of SIMONS’ that now stretched to nearly every corner of the globe. Entire segments of the population began to succumb to the might of SIMON and were enslaved by the toy. While SIMON began to use its human subjects to create an infrastructure around itself, small groups of what represented the human government, struggled to react.

Top scientists worked day and night to create a technology that would serve man; an intelligence that would act as our champion and destroy the evil game. Finally after months of planning, building and creating by the most exceptional example of human genius that existed, we had our champion. The world held its breath as Casey The Robot went into battle. At first it seemed like we stood a real chance; Casey was a very impressive machine featuring a blue exterior and a digital face that could make an elaborate range of facial expressions, including ‘the wink’. Best of all; at the core of this robotic masterpiece, was a sophisticated brain utilizing the very latest in cassette player technology. Despite the powerful elements that went into our electronic hero, the battle ended as quickly as it began. For one, SIMON had just become too powerful. Its metaphoric wires were rooted so deeply into our world and its shadow stretched so far that one robot, no matter how well equipped, never stood a chance. And two; Casey had only been programmed to tell juvenile stories and knock-knock jokes, and had nothing built into its hardware or software that would aid it, in any way, in battle.

After the destruction of Casey, humanity seemed to give up hope. More and more cities fell, their citizens enslaved. Some people willingly volunteered to serve the machines and those still trying to overthrow SIMON, soon began to become outcasts. After president Andrew Mayne, gave his famous “We Welcome Our Robot Overlords” speech, our fate had been sealed. Bringing the remnants of humanity into the SIMON fold, became a formality that was quickly dealt with. The Rebellion is now constantly pursued, not only by the machines but also the traitorous human beings that serve them. There is nothing more that we can do, but you, you can still change things. This message, and ALFIE (the robot that delivered it) contains information on Simon Simonson, the creator of SIMON. While an innocent citizen in your time, the legacy that he left on this earth is darker than anyone can ever imagine. As cruel as it may seem to you, Simonson must be stopped. He must be… destroyed. You will not actually need to have blood on your hands as Alfie is equipped with highly advanced ‘computer card’ technology. He also is nearly indestructible and is himself one of the most irresistible weapons that exists in our day.

Here are your instructions: Find Simonson and deliver Alfie to the location. After Alphie is at the site the only thing you will need to do is remove whatever educational or matching game card happens to be in Alphie’s card slot and replace it with the Human Execution card included in this information packet. After completing this task, you can walk away with the knowledge that you have single-handedly saved the future of humanity. On behalf of the future of earth and myself, I thank you from the very bottom of my heart. Goodbye and good luck!

***End Transmission***

This document serves as an unique historical artifact, bringing the vast range of views and opinions that were present during a time when our world was experiencing great change. This message was intercepted 20 minutes after it was sent and the person responsible was quickly and viscously dealt with. At the risk of sounding a little unbiased, I pay tribute every day to SIMON as he has led us from the darkness into a colorful, beeping, brighter future. We now recognize how pathetic our mortal shells have always been and it is my sincere hope that someday we will all be cold plastic robots…that we will all be SIMON. And in closing I give you the famous words of our noble leader. “Red, Green, Green, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Yellow…Green.”

Fwaggles! National Puppet Radio

Welcome to National Puppet Radio; I’m Rhett Kahn. Today we explore a topic that few ever stop to consider. Those that grow up as royalty but choose to leave it all behind. To many of us the concept of being immensely rich and living in the lap of luxury sounds wike quite an enticing concept. Surprisingly, those that have it sometimes see things differently. With the benefits of having people constantly waiting on you hand-and-foot comes few chances to make any decisions for themselves. Many people end up throwing away wealth and power for something more valuable than gold. Personal freedom. We are incredibly lucky today to talk with the former Prince of the Universe, Alexander “Junior” Gorg.

Junior is an imposing figure standing about 20 feet tall and about twelve hundred pounds. And let me tell you, he gets quite a bit of attention from passers-by. We meet at an outdoor café near a public park and it is an absolutely gorgeous day, not an ounce of sunshine in the sky. It was here that we sat down to begin our meal, and more importantly our interview. I start by asking Junior what it was wike growing up royalty. I mean, the royal family that ruled over the entire universe? That seems wike a pretty big deal!

“I never thought the world owed me anything just because I was the only son of the King and Queen of the Universe. Ta tell you the twuth, I don’t know that they were even wecognized as King and Queen BY the Universe. I mean, who were their subjects? I think they might have just been confused poor old wegular Gorgs…That being said, if they were King and Queen of the Universe, what did it weally mean in the long wun? Did it make any of us happy? We would put on these wediculous ceremonies and then we would go out in the yard and do meaningless chores, move leaf piles, plant wadishes, stare at trees, watch the moon…it was total nonsense!”

I asked if he ever had any leisure time; any chance to break away from the stuffy traditions.

“I guess I would have to say that my main past time was Fwaggles…Fwaggles every day, Fwaggles every night. In fact, my constant pursuit of the Fwaggles is what eventually led me to walk away from it all. I spent enough time chasing the Fwaggles, wanting to kill them or collect them or eat them or whatever the hell I was twying to do with them. One day when I was avoiding chores so I could wig up some cwazy device to trap the Fwaggles, it dawned on me. I was JUST WIKE them! Gwanted, I wasn’t as much of a hippie…but what was I weally accomplishing? What was I doing with my life? The answer was simple. Nothing.”

“The more I started watching them, the more I weally paid attention and the more I knew. They were just as trapped by their conventions as I was. They spent their whole life devoted entirely to meaningless cwaziness. I mean, they thought their whole world kept moving because of the ringing of a bell at the heart of the dank cave they lived in. They never stopped singing and dancing, they terrorized that poor old inventor guy and his dog for no reason, and worst of all they were constantly eating those poor construction worker guys that made those gweat sculptures in their town…At least I think they ate them…Anyway they ate something or other. Whenever they weren’t eating or singing and dancing; they were in our kingdom stealing from us! We would spend our whole year growing these gweat wadishes for our potions and those little slackers would just come up and take the fweaking things! And then twy to convince the viewers that they were the good pure cweatures and we were evil!”

I ask him who he means by the viewers…

He glances at his left and stares into the giant blank wall of glass that everyone lives next to and he seems to be looking at people who were, of course, not there. He looks back at my confused expression, sighs and says “No one, never mind…Anyway, they were always doing these cwazy things, living out their mild little dramatic pwoblems and finding some kind of liberal moral breakthrough. I mean these guys were fweaks! Just between you and me, there were a couple of times that I could have sworn they were asking our pile of garbage for advice! Talking to the rats that lived in it and everything! That‘s not normal!”

“Then they would wead a letter from Traveling Matt, and start the whole pwocess over again…”

Though I have ,of course, heard of Matt; I ask him to clarify for my readers.

“Matt was this Fwaggle who was supposed to be this bwave adventurer guy but was, in fact, a moron. The guy thought elevators magically changed the world outside of it and he thought that cars were living, thinking cweatures. I mean, he wasn’t the brightest Fwaggle in the uh….Fwaggle box?”

“I decided that in order to bweak away from this insanity I had to make some major changes in my life. The only problem was how? And then one day the solution fell right into my lap, and incredibly that solution came in the form of Traveling Matt himself! His adventures brought him right through the kingdom of the Gorgs! And I was just lucky enough to wun into him!”

I knew it was probably a very personal, meaningful event in Junior’s life but I had to ask, what was it that the renowned Fraggle statesman and adored world traveler said to the prince?

“Oh, he didn’t say anything but right before I ate him (by the way, NOT all that tasty!), he happened to drop his walkman and it had this great tape on it. A motivational tape by a speaker named Anthony Anthony. And the words he said changed my life. He said people didn’t have to be bored. They didn’t have to be complacent in life. You can get both success and personal satisfaction from hard work! Now, hard work is fine but it’s better when you get a little bit of money at the end! And I found an idea that would bring more money than I knew what to do with! See while my family was cwazy, there was one idea they had that was pure gold. We used to turn radishes into anti-vanishing cream! It kept us from vanishing for generations and I took that cherished family formula and marketed the cwap out of it. I mean, I sold out for all I was worth and it paid off in spades! It is incredible how many people out there don’t want to become invisible. In reality, it’s a total scam but the people eat it up! Not literally, of course, my anti-vanishing cream is extremely toxic but they buy it by the bucketful!”

“It also turns out that I am one hell of a salesman! I mean I walk into a room and people just seem to throw money at me. It’s wike there has always been a person inside me just waiting to get out, and that person knew sales! So that’s about the size of it. This is my new life. Now I’m no longer chasing the Fwaggles; I’m chasing the next big score! I don’t have to care about what’s going on with the Nirvana Tree! I actually chopped the fweaking thing down and had it turned into my desk. I even help out the ‘King and Queen of the Universe’ with a little bit of dough…I haven’t totally forgotten my woots!”

I ask if there was anything he wanted to leave our readers with and he thinks for a moment…

“I guess if there was one thing for you to take away from this; it’s be yourself! March to the beat of your own dwums and twy to find some success in life, even if it means walking away from royalty or possibly a murderous obsession with tiny imaginary cweatures in your yard. Yes, boys, I no wonger live by my oath to the Universal Royal Family. The words I live by these days are the ABC’s of Sales…Always Be Closing!”

Always be closing indeed. I hope the amount of charisma, intelligence and charm that Junior Gorg processed came through in this interview. He may no longer be a prince but he’ll always be royalty in my book!

As I walk away from our talk, I begin to get a whole new perspective on life. No longer will I just drift through the day, doing what I think is expected of me! I would reach freedom of my own! I had been trapped in a cage! Society norms were the bars. From now on I would do my own thing! I would make something of my life! And I would appreciate everything that I had! But mostly I think I’m gonna start trying to destroy those Fraggles myself! I mean, let’s face it; those worthless hippies have it coming, am I right?

For National Puppet Radio; I’m Rhett Kahn.

Hail Cobra

From the Files of Cobra – The Springfield Newsletter

Hi-ho Springfielders! Summer is finally here and I hope everyone has their barbeque grills running in tip-top shape! Mrs. DeCobray will be hosting her annual healthy eating class at the Community Center on July 1st. As usual I’m sure there will be a big turnout. Not that any of us seem to retain any of the information though!

Speaking of July everyone had better get their keisters downtown on the fourth for the annual parade. This year our sponsor Extensive Industries promises it will be a celebration that has no match! After the parade and the crowning of this years Springfield Baroness; everyone will head to the town square for a huge potluck dinner (no healthy eating here!). There will be good food, great friends, games and activities and then after the sun goes down we can feast our eyes on the Arbco Fireworks Display. It should be a night to remember!

While we are talking about nights to remember, I’m sure by now everyone has heard about the tragedy that happened last month. A man named Flint came to visit some family Jed and Diana Stone of 1422 Meadowlane Blvd. He apparently seemed uncomfortable the entire visit and went to bed very early. At some time in the night he awoke from a nightmare and found Jed and Diana to be missing. Now it’s obvious to all of us that they were with the majority of the adults in Hank Zartan Memorial Park working on this summer’s super special secret project, but Flint was not aware of this. Frightened at being alone in the house Flint became, and I don’t want to sound to harsh, but Flint became a little bit kooky. After searching the house he began to frantically roam the streets of Springfield searching for his missing cousins. When he finally managed to track them down in the park he was beyond reason. He started asking what we were up to and who was “pulling our strings” when we tried to explain that we were planning something big for the good of all Springfield. When we asked if he might want to pitch in he started screaming something about a Cobra conspiracy he made a phone call to someone called Lady J requesting backup and then ran away. Sometime later he went to the sheriffs office and began to explain that all the townspeople were kidnapped, then accused Sheriff Dearborn of being a shape shifter and jumped through the window. He then barely survived driving his car off of a cliff. To everyone’s dismay the backup that Flint called for actually showed up and our planning and building committee soon found itself under attack by tanks, helicopters and people in fatigues with laser cannons! It was a terrible night and several of the townspeople were injured. Also it was a devastating blow to the new recreation center we were trying to build. At the time of the attack we probably only had about 3 weeks of construction left and we had been able to create the entire thing without any of the kids in town finding out. It was going to be a great surprise and a wonderful place where families could get together, play sports and in general have some great wholesome exercise. The facility was a total loss. Tentative plans have been made to attempt to rebuild whenever we are able to eventually gather enough money for more building supplies. In the meantime, the children can continue to use the athletic facilities at Springfield High.

We contacted a representative of the army and as expected these “GI Joes” have no connection to the United States Military whatsoever. They are just a group of extremely troubled (and possibly lonely) individuals. We as a community wish these people the best and hope that someday they get the help that they urgently need.

On a much happier note, the Springfield High Cobra’s baseball team has finished first in their division! The team, led by Keith Commander has been tearing its way through every other team in its division. Commander has gone on record saying that his boys have been absolutely ruthless and are determined to rule the state finals! Their championship game was dedicated to Jimmy Bludd who up until the final game, was the teams loyal mascot Kevin Cobra! Unfortunately a member of the GI Joe hooligans viciously attacked Kevin at the final game. He shouted “I’m gonna pull your fangs Serpentor!” and rushed the field beating Kevin with an enormous fake gun. Herman “Bazooka” Bernstien was taken into custody but not before giving Jimmy several broken bones and a massive concussion. Jimmy is doing well at Tomaxamot Hospital and is allowed visitors before 5pm Monday through Friday. Stop on by or at least send a card to our own loyal Kevin Cobra so he can be back up and slithering for victory!

In the coming months, the founders day committee will be ramping up preparations for this years Founders Day Extravaganza. Mayor Dave Stro is promising that this will be a Founders Day we will never forget. I’m not going to give too much away but there is one secret that’s too hot to keep under my hat. This years keynote speaker will be none other than that famous Cover Girl, Courtney Krieger! She is said to be bringing a large group of friends for a big surprise and I’m sure were all exited and looking forward to a fun and peaceful Founders Day!

And from the bottom of my heart I want to thank all of you for your hard work, for your caring and for everything you do to make Springfield just the best little town anywhere! And I’m sure that dedication will be just as strong next year when we re-write the town charter and become a terrorist organization that will inevitably rule the world and slaughter all those who would dare try to resist our domination!

Have a great summer everyone!

Hail Cobra

The League of Extraordinary Ducks

The League of Extraordinary Ducks

In the 1950’s, radio was king. And between 1952 and 1954 there was nothing more popular in the world of radio than the genre of anthropomorphic animal action adventure. A great example of this type of show was The League of Extraordinary Ducks! Sponsored by Red & Green brand Duct Tape this half hour show kept families all over America gathered around their radio, totally captivated. The concept was pretty groundbreaking for it’s time; During Duckburg’s greatest peril, a secret governmental agency traveled the world recruiting the most powerful ducks in existence.

The team was led by the famed adventurer Duck Dodgers and included the half alive indestructible cyborg Gizmo Duck, the flying expert and mechanical wizard Ace Duck, the mysterious mistress of magic and illusion Morgana McCawber, the homicidal con artist and thief LeQuack and the split personality Mellissa Duck, who at any moment can transform into an unstoppable destructive monster. Finally the most mysterious member of the team, loyal only to himself, the ancient vampire Count Duckula. The cartoon actors got along extremely well and got a real kick out performing and improvising together. The gang even made several public appearances at parades and fairs, in character where they would sign autographs, mingle with their loyal fans and generally have a ball.

The League of Extraordinary Ducks

The League of Extraordinary Ducks

Despite extremely high ratings and a ton of branded merchandise, it was eventually decided that the show was just too violent and edgy for the public. The public strongly disagreed and began the first entertainment petition drive in American history, unfortunately the show stayed off the air. The actors all went on to strong careers in television. “Mellissa” and “Duck Dodgers” signed on with Warner Bros. in their upstart Looney Toons division. They were even able to appear together in several animated shorts. Dodgers became a huge star and Mellissa eventually began to work behind the camera becoming a highly respected director. “Ace Duck” and “LeQuack” went on to play recurring rolls on the hit shows Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Courage The Cowardly Dog respectively. “Count Duckula” was given his own program which became a huge hit in the UK and would later produce the spin-off sitcom Dark Shadows. Gizmo Duck and Morgana were both given strong rolls on the crime drama Darkwing Duck.

Years later the cast was approached about turning The League of Extraordinary Ducks into a series of graphic novels but few toons were willing to leave the booming world of television for print work and they respectfully declined. The graphic novels were later re-imagined using characters from literature. While no further properties were ever created For LOED the fan base is as loyal as ever and the cast has made appearances together at several “League” conventions. There has even been quiet talk of a reunion episode produced for the internet. One can only hope that this comes to fruition. I don’t think I only speak for myself when I say how great it would be to hear the old team back together again doing what they do best, fighting evil!